‘This Is the Dawn of a New Era’: The United Kingdom Has Left the European Union

The United Kingdom has left the European Union.

The UK left the EU at 11 pm local time, Friday the 31st of January, 2020. The UK will now be in a transition period with the bloc until December 31st, 2020, during which time London and Brussels negotiators will work on a future trade deal.

Just one hour earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson had addressed the British public in pre-recorded social media posts to herald the “dawn of a new era” in British history.

Prime Minister Johnson said: “Tonight, we are leaving the European Union. For many people, this is an astonishing moment of hope, a moment they thought would never come. There are many, of course, who feel a sense of anxiety and loss. And then there’s a third group, perhaps the biggest, who had started to worry that the whole political wrangle would never come to an end.

“I understand all those feelings. Our job as the government, my job, is to bring this country together, now, and take us forward. The most important thing to say tonight is that this is not the end, but a beginning. This is the moment that the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act in our great national drama.

“This is partly about using these new powers, this recaptured sovereignty to deliver the changes people voted for, whether that is controlling immigration, or creating free ports, or liberating our fishing industry, or doing free trade deals or simply making our laws and rules for the benefit of the people of this country.”

“This moment is far bigger” than just legally leaving the bloc, Mr Johnson said, but is “potentially a moment of real national renewal and change. This is the dawn of a new era.”

Moments after the UK left the EU, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said: “We’ve left the European Union. We’ve become a free, independent, sovereign country, and the remarkable thought that I’ve got is that this is a grassroots rebellion that overturned the establishment and it proves something: whatever the faults in our system, we’re still a democratic nation.”

Mr Farage told ITN news: “I want to see our self-confidence come back. I’m sick to death of hearing people say we’re not big enough, we’re not strong enough, we’re not good enough to negotiate our own trade deals, make our own laws. Let’s start to believe in Britain, let’s start to believe in our people.”

Victoria Friedman

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